Writing from Art: An Ekphrastic Tour of Socrates Sculpture Park

July 20, 2017

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On Sunday, July 16, a group of 15 writers converged on Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria to tour the art, write in response, and hear from past contributors to the journal. Thanks to Nadia Q. Ahmad, Christopher X. Shade, and Joseph O. Legaspi for sharing their work with us. Thanks also to Socrates Sculpture Park for hosting us, and to Poets & Writers, who supported the event, in part, through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

 

Here's some of the writing our participants did during the event.

 

**In response to Scapegoat by Nari Ward. The prompt was "chimera."

 

From Nancy Agabian:

 

What if my thighs were blades of

grass? My head a cloud. What if

my heart was a river? I don't

know what love is. That's what

society would have me believe.

That's what I believe, sometimes.

Sometimes I don't know how to love.

It gets tiring, being an empty vessel

that constantly needs water. That's why

my heart is a river, the East

River, which isn't really a river

but it still ebbs and flows. My heart

is ebbing. My legs are walking.

My head is dissipating.

 

Bring out the firehose to put out

the Apollo sign, god of the sun!

It will never work. Love will always

love, no matter what. No matter

how confused our clouds or how

tired our blades of grass.

 

From Tim Fredrick:

 

The goat with the electric box body chewed the leaves of the ginkgo. It belched with every third leave and, with each belch, sparks flew from its hindquarters. Once finished with its snack, the goat took the stone stage and recited the following:

 

I'm a goat, the G.O.A.T. goat, the Greatest of All Time goat. My body is a metal box with wires and screws and electricity.

 

Do not fear me, even though I'm an electric-box G.O.A.T. goat. My bed is a tire, my living room a port-a-john, my kitchen the trash cans there, there, and there, but not there. That's the kitchen of that other goat, not G.O.A.T. goat, just goat. We were married, and there was a time when we were paradoxically a pair of G.O.A.T. goats, but that goat left, and I returned to being the one and only G.O.A.T. goat.

 

The other goat, who incidentally had a body of a wooden Adirondack chair, scoffed at the electric box goat, in disbelief of its pretension. 

 

**In response to Bipartition Bell by Nari Ward. The prompt was "ugly nature."

 

From Nancy Agabian:

 

Oh the beautiful bedbug, with your

luminous brown sheen and delicate

pincers, your powerful tincture

of anesthesia, mercifully

soothing the skin of your human

lovers, before pulling their blood

into your petite belly. Oh bedbug,

everpresent and selfless,

how did we manage without you

for decades, your name uttered

only in a well-known admonition

to sleep tight. You heard our call,

oh bug of bed, loosening the souls

of citydwellers estranged from your cousins

the honeybees and the fireflies.

You brought us down to earth, down

to size, to your level: living only

to feed. We're not so different, you

and I: colonizing a new home,

hiding when vulnerable, seeking

sustenance with single-minded ferocity,

sleeping off the feast, regretting it

briefly till ready to bloom again.

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